Complexity in Cancer & Palliative Care

Subject NURS90031 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2011:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Off campus (Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre) and/ or distance learning

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 36 hours off-campus lectures (Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre) and/ or distance learning
Total Time Commitment: In addition to the subject contact hours, students are expected to devote approximately 6 hours a week to this subject.


Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's courses. Students who think their disability will impact on meeting this requirement are encouraged to discuss this matter with the Course Coordinator and the Disability Liaison Unit.


Miss Nicole King


Melbourne School of Health Sciences
The University of Melbourne
Level 5, 234 Queensberry St
Carlton Victoria 3010 AUSTRALIA
T: +61 3 8344 9401
F: +61 3 9347 4375

Subject Overview:

This subject focuses on the assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation of care for patients experiencing complex needs in cancer or palliative care settings. Essential concepts relating to health promotion and surveillance, advanced chemotherapy/ radiotherapy principles and practices, newer treatment modalities, sub specialty nursing interventions and complex symptom sequalae management will be explored. Students then engage in problem solving activities to apply these concepts to specialty specific assessment and management to inform their practice as proficient level specialty practitioners. Students are also challenged to think beyond the physical aspects of medical interventions to consider the psychosocial, ethical and legal implications of nursing practice in Cancer & Palliative Care settings.


Students will be expected to be able to demonstrate their proficiency in specialty nursing practice through:

  • an understanding of the assessment, planning and management of patients whose cancer is characterized by complex pathophysiological processes that requires multi-system and multi-disciplinary interventions;
  • an ability to resource professional literature and apply research at the 'cutting edge' of knowledge about patient management and specialty nursing practice in the cancer and palliative care practice setting;
  • an understanding of the impact of cancer, curative and palliative interventions and technology upon the psychosocial and moral well-being of patients and their families;
  • an appreciation of the ethical and legal implications of cancer and palliative care nursing practice for the nurse: as an individual; as a member of a disciplinary and multi-disciplinary team; as an employee of the healthcare institution and as a care provider for the patient and his/her family experiencing cancer and/or palliative care;
  • an advanced understanding of the changing knowledge base in the specialist area;
  • an ability to evaluate and synthesise the research and professional literature in the discipline;
  • advanced skills and techniques applicable to the discipline;
  • well-developed problem-solving abilities in the discipline area, characterised by flexibility of approach.
  1. Written assignment of 2500 words (55%) - Due week 6
  2. Closed book, 2 hour written examination (45%) - At end of semester
Prescribed Texts: None
Recommended Texts: A list of recommended texts will be supplied to students on enrolment in the subject.
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of the subject students should have developed the following generic skills of the Melbourne graduate and postgraduate coursework student:

  • a capacity to engage where appropriate with issues in contemporary society.
Links to further information:
Related Course(s): Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing (Cancer & Palliative Care Theory)
Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing Practice (Cancer & Palliative Care)

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